This is a wonderful vegetarian main dish from chef Ottolenghi. The sweet potatoes are cooked in water and honey, and are eaten with spinach and chickpeas cooked with fragrant spices. You dip the potatoes in a sauce made with Greek yogurt, garlic and mint.
This recipe does take some time to make, so you’ll definitely want to save it for the week-end. You can also double quantities so you can enjoy leftovers.
Serves 4 – Total time 60 minutes with cooked chickpeas
3.5 oz (100g) chickpeas, dried
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2.5 cups (400) chopped tomatoes, fresh or in a jar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cumin powder
3.5 oz (100g) spinach, fresh or frozen
1/2 tbsp cilantro leaves (optional)
For the sweet potatoes:
1.lb (500g) sweet potatoes
3 cups (700ml) water
1.8 oz (50g) butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
For the sauce
3.5 oz (100g) Greek yogurt (full fat yogurt)
1 garlic clove, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mint, dried
Soak the chickpeas overnight in water. Cook them in hot water, without salt. Note: I always cook about 20 oz. chickpeas and freeze them in small batches, so that I can use some whenever I need it. Of course, you could also use cooked chickpeas for this recipe.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small chunks (1.2 inch – 3 cm). Place them in a pan together with the butter, water, honey and salt. Bring to a boil, and cook, covered, on very low heat, for about 45 minutes. The liquid should have been almost entirely absorbed. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and fry the onion, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, during 8 minutes, stirring continuously. Then, add the tomato paste, the tomatoes, sugar and cumin powder. Cook for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Season, to taste.
Add the spinach and the cooked chickpeas. Cook for 5 more minutes and check the seasoning.
Now make the sauce: mix together all the ingredients of the sauce in a bowl. Season, to taste.
To serve, place on each plate some chickpeas with spinach, then add a few pieces of sweet potatoes, and garnish with a few cilantro leaves, if using. Add some sauce on the side.